Valentine’s Day brings together two central themes of the Bible: Love and Sacrifice. My brief wiki search tells me that St. Valentine lived in the 3rd century and was martyred during Claudius II’s reign. The legend goes that he was killed for sharing the gospel with the Emperor. While imprisoned, before his death, God used Valentine to heal the blind daughter of the jailer. He left her a note that read, “Your Valentine.” Refusing to renounce Jesus, Valentine was beaten with clubs and beheaded.
Love will drive us to make monumental sacrifices, to forget ourselves in the service of another. Valentine’s death, like the deaths of so many of Jesus’ followers, exemplified that kind of love. The cynic may ask, “But what is the object of that love? If you know God gives rewards for acting right, and dying for Him is like the biggest thing you could do, who are you really dying for?” That’s a fantastic question. If I die in service to God in order to receive a great reward, am I really dying for Him or me? Am I serving Him or is He merely the heavenly casino dolling out my eternal prize?
This gets at the heart of what makes Christianity different from every other religion. In following Christ, we don’t follow an example. He wasn’t just a saint to emulate or a prophet to listen to. Christ is, Himself, the reward of Christianity, the object of our love.
The saints of Scripture did die for something beyond themselves. St. Valentine died for someone, not himself. They died for Him. They died in the service of Jesus, choosing Him over their very lives.
Jesus said, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it,” (Luke 9:23-24).
Christianity is about His glory. Christians are all about Him. Love and Sacrifice. This Valentine’s Day, follow these ideas back to their source, their highest object and find a love worth giving up everything.
To listen to a sermon at Hope Church on exactly this subject, click here and check out the sermon from February 12, 2017 called “His Glory, Our Reward”. As always, you are invited to join us for service at 10:00am at Salt Mine Productive Workspace in Sandy, UT.